Clear and Present Danger

The temptation is too strong to resist. Just a few presents, and then the cake. You clamber up onto the table, crawling with a wild smile toward the trail of presents running down the center of the table. Your chubby fingers close on the first present you can reach and you tear away the paper with a resounding SHRRRRRP! Glorious!

But your delight is too powerful and you let out a shriek of joy. You immediately realize your mistake; your mother has evolved the ears of a snake. You hear the distant closing of a door and you know your life may be over. You scramble toward the edge of the table, but there isn’t time. You pull a swath of tattered paper over your head and huddle, shaking, underneath. You recite the litany against fear and wait.

Cold hands close on your exposed ankles, dragging you off the table. You wail with fear and failure as you swing through the air and up into your mother’s arms. You flail, desperate the escape, and your mind darts back to your cake, never so much as glanced at. Such a cruel fate!

Your mother plops you none-too-gently into the play pen, that pit of despair from which no one escapes, and you are left: toyless, friendless. Cakeless. Happy birthday, kiddo.

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